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Kimberly Baston '17

Managing Director @ Strong Women, Strong Girls

Baston was recently recognized by Pittsburgh Business Times as a 30 Under 30 Award recipient for 2020.

Before joining Strong Women, Strong Girls, Kimmi served as a communications professional in Clinical Marketing at UPMC in Downtown Pittsburgh. She graduated from Waynesburg University with a degree in journalism, marketing, and public relations after spending two years as the Executive Editor of Waynesburg’s national award-winning student newspaper. Kimmi lives in Pittsburgh and spends as much time as possible with her parents, older sister and brother-in-law, and dog-niece.

What do you do?

I am the Managing Director at the Pittsburgh branch of Strong Women, Strong Girls, a mentoring nonprofit that serves over 1,100 women and girls in the region. In addition to managing our local team, I oversee all operations, communications, programming, and fundraising and work closely with our location in Boston to align practices. Although we’re focused on maintaining viability and programming during the pandemic, we’re also looking forward to a period of growth and expansion in the next few years.

How has Waynesburg’s mission of faith, learning and serving helped guide you through your life?

WU’s mission is absolutely key to my path after graduation. It taught me how to incorporate service to others into my professional life regardless of career field, leading me to the nonprofit sector. I credit my well-rounded experience at WU for helping to enhance the skills and traits that have allowed me to be successful outside of my major field of study.

What is one thing that the pandemic has taught you about yourself?

I’ve always been a self-proclaimed introvert, and I live alone by choice, but the pandemic has taught me that I need more interpersonal interaction to be happy than I realized! Working from home and quarantining changed my perspective on spending time with friends and family – something I’ll never take for granted again. I’ve completely redefined what self-care means for me to include the right balance of connection and space.

What have you strived to keep consistent as many things are changing?

Very little has stayed consistent in my life this year – on top of everything happening in the world, I experienced three job shifts as my organization underwent a leadership transition and I assumed my current role. My family has been my rock (although not unchanging – I’m thrilled to become a new Aunt in Spring 2021!) and the place I turn for consistency and comfort. I’m lucky to live close to my parents and have done my best to maintain our traditions and routines this year.

What steps do you take to prioritize wellness in your life?

2020 has actually been a year of reprioritizing mental, physical, and spiritual wellness for me. Routines are key – I have a regular schedule of exercising (yes, in my living room - love the Daily Burn app!), talk with my therapist at least once per month, and I reengaged with my church over the summer. All of this has helped me better care for myself and others!

How do you serve others?

I have the blessing of being able to serve through my work every day, bringing mentorship to girls from under-resourced communities around the city. I’m also an active servant at my church and have been assisting this year with creating virtual worship experiences. During non-pandemic years, I also serve with Heart & Hand Ministries in Philippi, W.Va., to create housing solutions for families in need.

Do you have a hidden talent or skill that few people know about?

Most of my WU family probably doesn’t know that I am a singer! I’ve been singing for most of my life, although I took a hiatus during college, and am currently a worship leader with both our traditional and contemporary service experiences at my church.

What is your favorite recipe to make?

I’m on a huge chili kick this Fall – I make my mom’s chili recipe with ground beef AND ground turkey, and recently started adding in a can of baked beans as a secret ingredient. We don’t put a lot of hot spice in our food, so the baked beans add so much flavor!

Gain hands-on experience that employers will notice

Through practical experiences, you'll develop a portfolio of work that will impress employers. Beginning your first week, you will have the opportunity to practice what you're learning in your Communication classes. You'll have access to cameras, microphones, computers, lights, and much more for each of your projects.